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METCHACT Report Summary

Project ID: 259711
Funded under: FP7-IDEAS-ERC
Country: United Kingdom

Final Report Summary - METCHACT (A New Blueprint for Chemical Synthesis via Metal-Catalyzed C H Bond Functionalization)

Synthesis is a fundamental area of science that is crucial to advances in medicine and materials - fields that directly impact modern society. The increasing challenges that our society presents has raised the demands on synthesis to provide new molecules that can perturb biological function or provide a new physical property. This fellowship aims to provide solutions to these problems by developing pioneering synthesis blueprints for how chemists can make any molecule in an efficient, rapid and ‘green’ fashion. In particular, direct benefits of this research will be realized in the treatment of disease.
The bond forming processes that underline our ability to make molecules, large or small, depends on the manipulation of pre-functionalized molecules (compounds that need to be prepared through additional synthetic steps). However, the most common type of chemical bond in almost all organic molecules is the C–H bond. Usually, all but a few of these C–H bonds are considered as inert and only useful in synthesis if they are in the vicinity of a one of these activating functional groups (vide supra). To a synthetic chemist, permitting the use of any C–H bond as a potential functional group would be like giving them a key to a new world. Discovery of new chemical reactivity would lead to new reactions; comprised into a new tool kit for synthetic chemists, this would provide the basis for a molecule-building blueprint that would challenge synthetic dogma. Furthermore, using the traditionally ‘inert’ C–H bond as a versatile functional group would save synthesis time, make synthesis ‘greener’, and hence more efficient and cost effective. Therefore, to be able to introduce a general blueprint for chemical synthesis based using any C–H bond as a versatile functional group would be a truly paradigm shifting advance, and could have enormous impact on many of the scientific challenges that affect modern society. The work in this proposal has help to establish C–H bond functionalization at the heart of chemical synthesis. Using copper and palladium catalysts, we have shown that traditionally unreactive C–H bonds a range of feedstock hydrocarbon and functional molecules can be used as reactive handles to carry out a wide range of important new transformation which lead to value added compounds. More importantly, the concepts that have defined these advances will wide ranging implications across synthetic organic chemistry in the future.

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United Kingdom
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